Syntagma Square - Parliament, Athens
The parliament building was formerly the King's Palace, built at 1843 by King Otto in neoclassical style which originated in Greece and is the dominant style of all the old public buildings, houses and mansions of Athens. The building used also as a hospital and a museum until 1929 when decided to house the Parliament. In front of the parliament you can see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument built in 1932.
The parliament house holds the Parliament of Greece of course, a unicameral legislature of 300 members, elected for a four-year term. On December 8, 1974, a referendum was conducted to decide about the nature of the form of government and the Greeks decided against monarchy and for a parliamentary republic. Before that there was a military dictatorship for seven years. Most of political demonstrations take place in front of the parliament because most of the bills are voted there to become laws of the state later. These demonstrations affects the daily life because of the traffic jam in the center but some laws are even more difficult to accept than a small delay of the bus for some of us! I wouldn’t suggest tourists to be there during demonstrations, there are numerous interesting cornerns in Athens to spend their time so they better walk and check the attractions and return later when it’s quieter.
The parliament operates a television station, "Vouli TV", a boring channel most of the times as it broadcasts sessions most of the times but sometimes broadcasts films or historical documentaries. Yes, only a few people watch this channel… but the other greek channels aint much better…Parliament organizes some exhibitions but I never managed to visit one so I don’t know much about it.
Pic 5 was taken at the left side of the parliament, it’s a statue of Eleftherios Venizelos, the eminent greek leader of early 20th century
It is actually the Centre of the modern City of Athens, a square with large open space surrounded by shops, restaurants and office buildings.
Jammed with traffic it is often used as a focal point for student marches, union strikes and other political protests. Once in a while it becomes a turbulent square due to its location.
Luxury hotels line the square and pedestrian-friendly streets lead away from it to the historical part of Athens.
A good base to get the Metro, or the Airport Coach.
At the top of the square are two stairways and an elevator leading to the Metro Station, one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, with its own museum of artifacts found at the construction site.
As elsewhere, Syntagma square is the zero point in Greece, the point from which all distances in Greece are counted. There’s not something special to dominate it (for example a sign) but yes you are in the center of Athens :)
No local stands here anyway, we seem so busy most of the times, except the days that a concert or a demonstration takes place but even then sometimes the police ‘forces’ people to move. The tourists have to see the square open and clean! :)
The square is bordered by Vassileos Georgiou A' Street to the north(Grande Bretagne hotel is here), Othonos Street to the south (bus X95 for the airport stops here), Filellinon Street to the west(where McDonalds and Public Store are) and Amalias Avenue to the east(the Parliament lies on this side).
In fact there isn’t anything special to see except some shade trees and a water fountain where pigeons drink before they go to eat from tourists’ hands. During Christmas is better as the Mayor use to put a huge tree decorated with silly colors and sometimes small wooden houses selling sweets etc It was very funny some years before when everyone went there to take sweets because they thought they were for free but got shocked after hearing the incredible prices…
Last but not least the kiosks at the square stay open 24 hours and sell many foreign newspapers, magazines among other things like cigaretes, beers, maps, Disney comics etc Just outside the main entrance to the metro there’s a guy selling koulouri (circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds), it’s very typical light snack (very popular in Turkey too)
This is the main square of Athens, located in front of the Greek Parliament and probably the first and the last thing you see before heading back to the airport. I do the same every time I go to the airport by bus X95 which departs from here but I also use the square as a meeting point because I live in the center.
Sintagma means “constitution ” and there’s a story behind this name, Otto of Bavaria was chosen by the great powers to rule Greece after Greece liberation from the Turks so the greeks now have to fight against the tyranny of the Bavarians (Otto was too young, in fact a military force that came with him ruled the country). When greek soldiers(the leaders were D.Kalergis and I.Makrigiannis) got into palace demaded the king to get rid of the foreigners and forced him to create a constitution. That was back on September 3, 1843.
You can stay for a coffee at the outdoor cafes (pic 2) and check the busy people passing by. Most of the political demonstrations take place here because the square lies in front of the Greek Parliament, where you can see the Tomb of the unknown soldier. Check also the Grand Bretagne hotel, walk down Ermou or Stadiou Streets for shopping, walk into National Garden that surrounds the Parlament etc
Ah, yes! There’s free wi-fi internet access at high speeds offered by the Municipality of Athens but I will feel sorry for your poor laptop if you put it under the sun during August in Athens. RIP… :)
Beneath the marble steps leading to Amalias Avenue lies the Syntagma metro station. What’s more Tram lines departs from Amalias avenue and of course a dozen of buses passing by to/from many directions of Athens.
The Parliament building is found just across from SYNTAGMA SQ,it is the centre for the greek government and is a former royal palace
The big attraction here is the tomb of the unknown soldier,and the guards that guard it.
Syntagma square which means costitution square is the heart of Athens, from there you can eaisly move around both walking or using public transports.You can read in cultural tips what kind of surprise I found there. In this square there is also the parlament.
Every hour there is the change of the guard in front of the tomb of the unknown solder.
The Syntagma Square has a broad sloping area which has in its upper reaches the former Royal Palace, now called the Parliament Building. Below this is a parade ground containing the Unknown Solider. Here a pair of soldiers stand on guard dressed in the typical Evzones dress. These National Guards are changed each hour. On Sunday at 11AM there is a changing of the Guard ceremony as well. The secod part of the square continues below the metro. There is a memorial statue and fountains at the upper edge while the large square is surrounded by staid benches which are minimally used. Before 2000, the area was covered by outdoor cafes with lounge chairs at which to drink and eat.. The good old days are gone. On the north side of the square are the ancient fine hotels, the King George and the Grande Bretagne. The south and east side of the square are occupied by commercial buildings and their busy streets of traffic.
Βουλή των Ελλήνων or the Greek Parliament is located on Syntagma Square. It is actually hosted in the old royal palace. It is a unicameral legislation with 300 MEP's, elected every 4 years. Greece has been being a republic since the referendum in 1974.
Most tourists enjoy the guard in front of it, although pictures close to them are not allowed.
The architectural style is pretty Bavarian because most of the Athens buildings were built by German architect - yet, the king was Otto I, a Bavarian.
Πλατεία Συντάγματος (the Greek for Syntagma or Constitution square) is the modern very center of Athens. It was dedicated to the first constitution of Greece of the September 3, 1843 during the reign of the first Greek monarch Otto I, though he was Bavarian, indeed.
The Syntagma is an outgoing point for many sightseeings of Athens, including the Cathedral, the Parliament and the Folk gardens. It is also a transportation hub; most of the metro lines, trams and buses start or pass here. Many old Athens neighbourhoods are withing a walking distance.
This square is considered the center of Athens, but there's not much to do or see here !!!! it's a plain square where people meet and people come to protest against the government.... again no cafe's with outdoor seating, just plain building and hotel surround the square.
While I'm sure there is more to Syntagma Square and the Parliament Building then just feeding pigeons I just happened to have a lot of fun doing just that. Much like St. Marks Square in Venice there is a mass build up of pigeons due to the fact there are vendors selling bird feed for a euro a bag. But again I digress...as I was saying there is more to Syntagma Square then just pigeons...for example there is the changing of the guard in front of the Parliament Building that always attracts a crowd...and not just the pigeons...unless you happen to have a bag of bird feed. Syntagma Square is also a nice place to sit and people watch as it seems to be a main hub of city life for the locals as well as the tourists. You could also pigeon watch...if you were so inclined.
Syntagma Square is the heart of of modrn city.it’s the main area in Athens with wireless internet access cover and many shopping streets and centers around(like Ermou st.).The first king’s palace built in 1834,is to the east of the square,which is now the greek parliament.it’s the monument,which remind the 1834’s demonstrations which led to the first constitution from king Otto.in front of the palace,there is the raised desighn and a monument of an unknown soldier.there you can see changing the guard ceremony every 20 minutes too.
Syntagma Square is the main square of Athens, located in front of the Greek Parliament. The Square is named after the Constitution King Othon was forced to grant the people after a popular and military uprising in 1843.
The eastern side of the square is higher than the western, and dominated by a set of marble steps leading to Amalias Avenue. Syntagma also includes two green areas to the north and south, planted with shade trees, while in the center of the square a large water fountain traditionally hosts the occasionally sighted Syntagma pigeons, along with heat-tormented Athenians during the summer.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 31.54" N 23º 44' 9.08" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Syntagma Square .
The building of Parliament is a neoclassical three-floor structure designed by Friedrich von Gärtner and completed in 1843. Originally it served as a palace for the Greek monarchs. After suffering fire damage in 1909 it entered a long period of renovation.
The building was then used for many different purposes - functioning as a makeshift hospital and a museum among other things until 1929 when the government decided that the building would instead house the Parliament.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 31.54" N 23º 44' 9.08" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Parliament .
You may watch my 2 min 58 sec VIDEO-clip Greece Athens with popular Greek music by Demis Roussos.
In front of the Parliament building, this guard changes every hour throughout the day. I had seen pictures of it as a kid so I wanted to catch it while in Athens. Syndagma Square has a lot of restaurants and is good for people watching.